2011 Volvo XC70 Page 1

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With the V70 deleted from the Swedish automaker's lineup, the Volvo XC70 crossover wagon is the mid-size standard bearer, slotted between the smaller XC60 and the larger XC90.

Based on the last-generation S60 sedan, the XC70 maintains its pleasant blend of rugged details on a handsome wagon body. It's a bit manlier than the XC60, with its body cladding and skid plates, but it shares of the slim elegance of newer Volvos inside thanks to a "floating" center console that leaves an open bin behind the audio and climate controls.

A pair of in-line six-cylinders offer Volvo buyers a choice of power, but frugality isn't quite as well-defined. The base 3.2-liter six makes 240 horsepower, up marginally this year, while a turbocharged version rounds up its power output to a nice, even 300 hp while it rounds down its displacement to 3.0 liters. With the turbocharged engine, Volvo promises the XC70 can accelerate to 60 in 7.1 seconds. The power bump doesn't cost anything in terms of gas mileage, as both engines are rated at 16/22 mpg. A six-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox on both front-drive and all-wheel-drive XC70 wagons, the latter using a Haldex system to send 95 percent of the power to the front wheels during normal driving and up to 65 percent to the rear wheels when conditions start to get slippery.

Ride quality is especially good if you get the automatic damping control, which firms up the suspension quickly when needed for sharper cornering control, allowing for a soft and absorbent ride under normal driving.

The XC70 has impressive space for passengers and for their belongings. The front seats are typically cozy, in the Volvo idiom. The second row is split into three sections for flexibility; with plenty of passenger room in the seat-up position, the XC70 also has 72 cubic feet of interior room with the rear seats folded down.

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